design and access statement – planning statements

we write planning statements to help you secure planning permission

At Plande we have experience of many different types of planning statements, including writing a design and access statement. This page will give a brief insight into the main types.

Please contact us for assistance with your specific statement needs.

All statements are prepared by an experienced RTPI Planning Consultant with the assistance of a RIBA Chartered Architect, where design matters need specific justification.

We can also call on wider expertise, as needed, including Barristers, Highways Consultants, Ecologists, Sustainability Consultants, Arboriculturist; Landscape Architect and Visualisers to support a planning application.

Planning Statements - Design and Access Statement

For a quotation for a statement please email:

or call 0161 635 85 35 or 020 8168 2168

Some feedback from our satisfied clients:

“I first came across your company via the internet.  I was very happy with the speed of service and getting the case together before submitting for my appeal. 

I found that the contents of the statement to be very compelling and had substance.  I was also pleased that you included examples of other schemes that the council approved of before you submitted the statement.  I was also pleased that you asked me if I wanted to make any amendments before finally submitting. 

I was happy with your fee and found this to be very competitive. 

I would recommend your services to others who may benefit from what you offer. “

“‘The statement is excellent, you have obviously done a lot of research.

I want to thank you very much for all the effort and hard work you put into it, all the research carried out and the very comprehensive documents you submitted.

A very thorough job.”




“We feel that the service we received from you was outstanding. Very professional and structured.

Communication was always quick and responsive.”

“A very helpful service, with the fastest possible turnaround and at the best price quoted- I’ll use again!”

“An excellent service handled with supreme attention to detail leading to a positive outcome”

“Nothing to be improved upon – service was excellent and friendly throughout, from initial consultation to planning approval. thank you.”

“We would not hesitate to recommend you to other prospective clients. It was always easy to contact you and you kept us informed of progress. Everything was handled efficiently and professionally.”

The different types of design and access statement and planning statements.

The main design & access and planning statements types are as follows:

Planning Statement

A Planning Statement is similar to a Design and Access Statement but goes further and identifies, assesses and justifies the proposals in planning terms, including how the proposed develop accords with the relevant local and national planning policies.

Typically it will comprise a justification of the technical aspects (including highways, trees, ecology, landscaping etc), planning policy, design, sustainability, community involvement among others.

When is a planning statement useful?
We would suggest a planning statement is useful in all but the most simple of cases particularly as the local planning authority will need to consider how the development accords to the relevant policies and therefore it is an applicant’s opportunity to justify the scheme rather than assuming the Planning Department will view the application in the same way.

As such a planning statement can be useful for changes of use applications, householder extensions, lawful development certificates

At plande we have a wide-ranging experience in submitting planning statements across a wide range of sectors including domestic, residential, commercial, retail, leisure and mixed use.

We have specific experience in Paragraph 55 homes, Green Belt, Conservation Areas, NPPF 5 Year Housing Land Supply, Sequential Test statements among others.

Please see our Case Studies page for more information.

Design & Accesss Statements

What is a Design and access statement?

A Design and Access Statement is a short document submitted to accompany a planning application. It allows applicants and their agents to explain the design and overall development and justify how it is an appropriate and suitable response to the site and context.

When is a design and access statement required?

A Design and Access statement is required for major developments but also schemes in conservation areas and World Heritage Sites as well as for Listed Building Consent. It also benefits more complicated or challenging schemes to help explain how a scheme developed as well as the benefits to the site.

How to write a design and access statement?

Writing a design and access statement is a key skill of a designer or planning consultant. We have written hundreds of such statements for a wide range of schemes, including green belt, conservation areas, listed buildings, major developments, householder developments and housing outside of settlement boundaries. Design and Access statements should be clearly written, providing a high-quality justification for the planning application and be up-to-date with current planning policies.

Design and access statement template and guidance

A Design and Access statement incorporates the overall concepts and design principles as well as how the context has influenced the scheme. Access is incorporated for the site as a whole, including into and around the site as well as any buildings. The level of detail in a Design and Access Statement should be proportional to the complexity of the application. For relatively straightforward schemes may only be a few paragraphs long.

Householder Planning Statement

Our householder planning application service is a specific planning statement service for works to private homes.

House extensions and home remodelling projects are often contentious and refused due to a lack of justification against the relevant local authority policies.

Many Local Planning Authorities have detailed supplementary planning guidance documents, Conservation Area Appraisals, and/ or Article 4 Directives and the specific context in which your house is located (i.e. Green Belt, AONB, Listed Buildings etc) can dramatically affect what is allowable.

Contact us to discuss your specific requirements.

Heritage Statements

What is a Heritage Statement? A Heritage Statement (sometimes referred to as a Heritage Impact Assessment) is an assessment, as required by the NPPF, of the significance of any heritage asset affected, including any contribution made by their setting as well as the impact of any proposals on the significance of the heritage asset. When is a heritage statement required? A Heritage Statement is required for all planning applications or Listed Building Consent when proposals directly involve, or affects the setting of a heritage asset. Heritage assets may be formally “designated”, for example, listed buildings or “non-designed, for example, those identified by the local planning authority. Therefore, a heritage statement is required for all applications in, or affecting, Conservation Areas, Listed Building, World Heritage Sites, Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings, Protected Wreck Sites, Registered Parks and Gardens, Registered Battlefields as well as buildings and sites that have historic value but may not have been nationally recognised or assessed. Please contact us if you are looking for assistance generally with these. We can call on a range of experts, including our own in-house consultant who has been on the RIBA Conservation Register as well as external historic building specialists.

Lawful Development Certificates

We are able to undertake Certificate of Lawful Development to determine whether proposed works are Permitted Development or that existing works were lawfully carried out. Please see our dedicated page or contact us more information.

Permitted Development statements are a useful way to set out and ensure proposals fully adhere to the regulations and in our experience, it is common for such designs to miss critical elements or for the LPA to consider the development in a different way to our clients’ intentions.

Green Belt Planning Statements

Green Belt planning applications can often be very complex and difficult to achieve, particularly as local planning authorities are required to ensure that “substantial weight” is given to any harm to the Green Belt, with inappropriate development, by definition, harmful. Please see our Green Belt page for further information on the Green Belt and our experiences in obtaining approval. It is possible to justify that there are “very special circumstances” which can be considered if these clearly outweigh any harm to the Green Belt.

When can a “very special circumstances” statement be useful?

A “Very Special Circumstances” statement can be useful to justify proposals that would otherwise be unacceptable within the Green Belt. Examples of such statements we have produced, including house extensions which are disproportionate or replacement dwellings which are materially larger. Please click on the links for further information.

Planning Statement for presentation to Committee Statement

If a planning application is referred to a planning committee it will likely either have a recommendation for approval or refusal.

At such meetings both applicants and interested parties usually have the opportunity to make a short presentation to the committee members to either support or object to the application.

For applicants, particularly if they have received no professional planning assistance during the application process or there are aspects of the committee report that either do not fully justify the scheme or contain inaccuracies or other issues, obtaining a brief planning statement from an RTPI Town Planner, which they can read out, can be a great opportunity of getting their point across.

For objectors, a short planning statement is an opportunity to highlight the planning issues of a scheme and where development does not accord with the development plan or is unacceptable with regards to other planning matters.

As time is very limited for such presentations, writing a succinct, powerful planning justification statement is crucial to enable the planning committee to understand the pertinent points.

Sequential Test or Assessment Planning Statements

What is a Sequential Test or Assessment?
Local Planning Authority policies often require town centre uses to be located within Town Centres, however, it can be possible, due to physical or other constraints that mean such uses are not possible or desirable for applicants.

A sequential assessment planning statement would see to consider that there are no available or suitable town centre or edge of town centre locations (as necessary) to try and justify such uses in other locations.

When is a Sequential Test or Assessment required?
Each local authority differs, however, such a planning statement would generally be required for town centre uses (retail, office, leisure and hotel) in an edge of the town centre or out of centre location, for such developments over a certain size or where proposals are not in accordance with an up-to-date development plan.

Full Statement of Case for planning appeal

Most Planning Appeals are undertaken via the Written Representations route and as such a grounds of appeal or full statement of case for a planning appeal is a key aspect.

Please see our planning appeals page for more information.

Frequently asked planning statements and design and access statement questions

Why submit a planning statement?

The simple answer is that planning applications are often refused incorrectly, for many reasons, whether from the planning application package of information not convincing the LPA, misinterpretation of planning policy or decisions overly swayed by strong objections.

Other reasons why a planning statement is a useful strategy is to justify that specific parts of the proposals are acceptable (the principle etc) and to summarise the keys aspects of complex schemes.

On larger, or more complicated schemes and especially where designs or the principle do not necessary completely accord to planning policy, a Planning Statement is essential to provide the background to the arguments.

Does a planning statement improve the chance of obtaining planning permission?

We think that a planning statement often gives the best chance of achieving planning permission as they can justify and summarise a scheme and the relevant policies better than drawings, however the design and supporting information are also crucial elements and as part of the process we would look to work with you to advise of any further supporting information. Please contact us today for an appraisal on your planning application.

However, sometimes we recommend (for numerous reasons) that a redesign is the best way to obtain planning where a small detail or issue would prevent approval. If this is the case, we are more than happy and capable to assist with this process, either as a standalone service (we have our own in-house RIBA Architects etc) or with your existing design team.

Why choose Plande for your statement?

At plande, we have an expert, highly experienced in-house team with wide ranging specialist external support where specific assistance is required, helping us to create detailed and robust statements to give your planning application the best chance of achieving planning approval. Please see our about us page for more information.

Do you need to visit the site?

With the age of technology, a physical site visit it usually not required. Any information/ photographs/ drawings/ plans etc you can send to us also provide invaluable information, however the use of aerial photography, Google street view and the local authorities planning website generally provide the information we need.

We are, however, more than happy to undertake these site visits if specifically required. These visits are charged on an hourly rate basis.

What is a Planning policy statement?

A planning policy statement sets out the justification of the planning application in the context of local and national planning policies, including any LPA supplementary planning guidance, the NPPF as well as other statutory policies.

Why should we use plande rather than our local architect or surveyor etc?

Planning statements are a highly specialist area incorporating many different aspects, including planning law and case law. Our specialist, dedicated team, work on all types of planning statement across the whole of England, Scotland and Wales and as such our breadth of experience and independence from local political influences, provides a unique and cost effective service.

The planning system is becoming more and more complex and it is difficult for non-planning professionals to keep up-to-date with all changes to policies and case law, particularly when the matters relate to the NPPF, Paragraph 55 homes or other hot political topics

We are more than happy to work with your existing team and often this provides a strong and robust planning application package to ensure the best chance of success.

How long does a planning statement take?

Depending upon our workload at the time of your enquiry, as well as the complexity of the project, we aim for a prompt turnaround of planning statements and generally aim for between 5 – 10 working days, however in many cases these are completed sooner than this. Please contact us for more detailed information.

Should I submit a statement?

A planning statement is a useful tool for many reasons but specifically to justify which aspects are acceptable and to help to reduce the overall time to achieve planning approval.

Your chances of success are greatly improved when using a professional and experienced team to undertake your planning statement. As part of our initial review process we will undertake research into the planning application, including the planning policies, and investigate whether there are any merits in the amending the proposals to facilitate planning approval either by amendments to the design or additional supporting information.

What types of statement can plande undertake?

We can generally undertake most types of statement, but this website has been developed primarily to deal with Minor Applications ranging from 1 to 10 houses and up to 1,000 sq m of commercial development, however these are not hard and fast rules as it is the complexity of the application that dictates whether we can assist. Please contact us with your project and we can advise further.

Statement examples

Writing planning statements or a design and access statement is not a one-size-fits-all approach although there are several key similarities in each of our statements. Please contact us for more information and specific examples to help with your project.

Whether you need a planning statement to help justify permission our fresh planning insights will help you achieve your goal. We have access to planning appeal decisions, case law and planning policies allowing our statements to be evidence based utilising legal precedents and points of law, to greatly improve the chances of success.